Senate passes MacDonald bill to allow police, firefighters to use EpiPens

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Tuesday approved Sen. Michael D. MacDonald’s legislation to allow Michigan firefighters and police officers to carry and use EpiPens to treat life-threatening allergic reactions.

“In emergency situations quick action by first responders can mean the difference between life and death,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “Our responders are permitted to use Narcan to save lives from opioid overdoses, but unfortunately they’re unable to use an EpiPen to help someone experiencing a dangerous allergic reaction. It doesn’t make any sense.”

MacDonald’s main bill, Senate Bill 418, would create the Law Enforcement and Firefighter Access to Epinephrine Act and allow trained law enforcement officers and firefighters to possess and administer epinephrine to individuals in situations of anaphylactic reactions.

SB 417 is a companion measure sponsored by Sen. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township, that would add law enforcement agencies and fire departments as “eligible entities” allowed to obtain prescriptions for and purchase auto-injectable epinephrine devices, commonly referred to as EpiPens, and distribute them to their officers or firefighters.

“Allowing trained first responders to carry this proven drug could save lives and improve the chance of recovery for someone experiencing an anaphylactic reaction,” MacDonald said. “Our first responders also should not have to worry about being sued for reasonable decisions about whether or not to use the EpiPen.”

SBs 843 and 844 would strengthen the civil and criminal liability protections for first responders and school employees who administer or fail to administer epinephrine to an individual, as long as it does not amount to willful or wanton misconduct.

The bills now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.